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Statue of Upāli, Bodh Gaya, India

Upāli (T. nye bar 'khor ཉི་བར་འཀོར་; C. youboli) was one of the principal disciples of the Buddha. He was foremost among the disciples in his knowledge of the monastic code of conduct (vinaya). At the First Buddhist Council, he was asked by Mahakashyapa to recite all of the rules of the monastic code (vinaya).

According to the Pali tradition, Upāli was born a low-caste barber in the city of Kapilavastu. He accompanied Anuruddha and a group of Shakya nobleman when they went to the Buddha to be ordained as monks. Upāli asked if he could receive ordination as well, and the nobleman insisted that Upāli become the first among them to take ordination, in order that they might quell their pride in their noble birth.[1]

After being ordained, Upāli became known for his mastery the vinaya and was consulted often about vinaya matters. A notable case he decided was that of the monk Ajjuka, who was accused of partisanship in a conflict about real estate. During the First Buddhist Council, Upāli received the important role of reciting the vinaya.


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Upāli.


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